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Publisher's Summary

The intoxication from a pint of vodka, the electric buzz from snorting cocaine, the warm embrace from shooting heroin - drinking and drugging provide the height of human experience. It's the promise of heaven on earth, but the hell that follows is a constant hunger, a cold emptiness. The craving to get high is a yearning as intense of any blood-thirsty monster.

The best way to tell the truths of addiction is through a story, and dark truths such as these need a piece of horror to do them justice.

The stories inside feature the insidious nature of addiction told with compassion yet searing honesty. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths, and some of the most incredible names in horror fiction have tackled this modern day epidemic.

"A Wicked Thirst" by Kealan Patrick Burke

"The One in the Middle" by Jessica McHugh

"Everywhere You've Bled and Everywhere You Will" by Max Booth III

"First, Just Bite a Finger" by Johann Thorsson

"Last Call" by John FD Taff

Torment of the Fallen" by Glen Krisch

"Garden of Fiends" by Mark Matthews

"Returns" by Jack Ketchum

©2017 Mark Matthews (P)2017 Mark Matthews

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Freaked me out!

This book was absolutely terrifying at times. The spiders!!! OMG! The book was also very sad. I actually felt bad for the addicts and what they go through mentally. The stories deal with all types of addicts and are all pretty creepy! Great collection of scary stories from some great authors. Rick Gregory did an excellent job with the narration, even making it sound a bit creepier at times. Loved it!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Horrors of addiction

I received a copy of this book in audio format from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

This is an anthology about a different kind of horror. It is not the explicit horror we find sometimes in books, but the real one caused by addiction. Sometimes these monsters can be scarier than the ones in our imagination.

A Wicked Thirst by Kealan Patrick Burke
A man and his insatiable thirst for alcohol will push him to do the unthinkable. It is a rather dark story with powerful images.

The One in the Middle by Jessica McHugh
In a near future a new kind of drug is causing havoc in society. This tale was imaginative and complex.

Garden of Fiends by Mark Mathews
This one is longer than the others. Tara is recovering from addiction thanks to her loving family. But her boyfriend is released from prison and things start to go south. She will be tempted, her father's trust issues will push him to do unforgivable things and her mother will drastically change. A vivid example of how drugs can destroy a family. Sad and tragic, and with well written characters.

First, Bit Just a Finger by Johann Thorsson
This story is a good metaphor for drug use. It has powerful and very clear images about how one can end up if taking this route.

Last Call by John FD. Taff
Ted is unable to give up alcohol, so his AA sponsor will offer a miracle bottle that will end this hell forever. The only problem is that Ted's past will catch up with him.

Torment of the Fallen by Glen Krisch
Maggie is on the run but she is trying to locate her father. She should not have, it was too late.

Everywhere You’ve Bled and Everywhere You Will Be by Max Booth III
A man starts bleeding from his penis, and scared of what it might mean, he decides to take refuge in the old good drugs. I really liked this one. It has good images and great characters.

Returns by Jack Ketchum
This story is about a ghost who returns with a purpose, he will just have to figure it out.

Some of these stories are quite weird, but the good kind of weird. They will allow us to visit the parallel universe of drug addicts but without the dangers of using. A bit gore sometimes, but well written stories with powerful images that will haunt the listener for some time after finishing the book.

Rick Gregory did a very good job narrating this stories. He transmitted well the characters emotions and his pace and tone kept my attention at all times.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Anthology of Addiction Horror

OMG!! This is one insane horror book. It contains everything disturbing about drugs to alcohol, I cannot pick out a favorite. Stories that are sad and creepy to ghosts. Recommend to anyone who enjoys brutal human horrors with good narration. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. Thank you!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Gruesome!

Let me start by saying, this book was nothing like I expected. If you are not someone who enjoys gore, you might want to sit this one out. I love extreme horror, and I guess this could work as a "scared straight" type of intervention. That said, this was easily one of the stranger anthologies I've ever come across. From magic booze to cannibalism to spiders (shudder), this book covers all of the scariest tropes in horror, while also strangely discussing all sorts of addictions and the mindset of an addict (both current and recovering). If you can handle the massive amounts of gore, this anthology is also an excellent social discourse about the dangers of addictions. The narrator did a great job holding my interest, and not stumbling during some of the nastier scenes. Well done, all around.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I now fear spiders and small bits of meat

This anthology focuses on addiction, mostly drug and alcohol addiction. They range from science fiction to horror to the paranormal. The editor opens with a short foreword about addiction and his hopes that this anthology will provide some insight into the struggle of addicts and hopefully bring about some compassion for those suffering from addiction. Even if this anthology doesn’t do that for you, it’s still quite entertaining, insightful, riveting, sometimes disgusting, usually disturbing, and chock full of examples of bad decisions made.

A Wicked Thirst by Kealan Patrick Burke

Melinda and this guy, our unnamed narrator of this story, meet at a bar. They go back to her place and have sex, sort of. Then he wakes up out in the street being drowned in a rainwater puddle. A specter of Steven Carver, his former AA sponsor, reminds him of his failures. The timeline jumps around a little as our alcohol-sodden character tries to muddle through the night. What’s real, what’s not? What’s in the present and what’s in the past? This tale did a great job of showing the inner confusion of someone deep in the clutches of alcoholism. There’s this scene where this guy is burying his daughter’s dead cat and he cries, not for the cat, not for his daughter, but for himself and stuff that happened during his own childhood. This scene really brought home how this character has so much stuff that’s left unresolved in his life. 5/5

The One in the Middle by Jessica McHugh

Set in a future 2080s Patterson Park in Baltimore, the new drug of choice is Atlas. Heavy users like to inject it directly into their genitals, giving them a long-lasting incredible high. Perry Samson is still obsessed with his ex-wife Serina. He watches her from afar and thinks of her when he masturbates. He needs another high but his junkie friend Loshi thinks it’s high time Perry be the one to score and share. The author shows us the keen edge of depravity in this story. The Atlas junkies are willing to sell their flesh for a hit and some cash. Meanwhile, the rich who can afford the delicacy of well prepared human meat enjoy it in swanky restaurants. It reminded me of high school and college students who would sell plasma to go buy some pot. This was my favorite story in the bunch easily. I love the future SF setting (there’s TVs spread throughout the park showing The Wire reruns with all the hopeful scenes cut out) and yet we still have this drug culture, one in which there’s those who suffer and those who profit from it. 6/5

Garden of Fiends by Mark Matthews

Terra Snyder is in Narcotics Anonymous, living with her parents and trying to get her life back together. Then her former boyfriend Brett unexpectedly shows up. He’s in the Work Release Program while in prison. Against her better judgement, she goes with him to Russell’s place where they used to buy their drugs and hangout. The author shows us step by step how easy it is for someone to be roped back into the users lifestyle. The point of view bounces back and forth from Terra to her dad Gregory throughout the story. Gregory, Heather, and their daughter Terra (somewhat reluctantly) have been working on this urban farm in the middle of Detroit. Heather is one of those always upbeat, optimistic types who would never give up on her kid. Gregory, while not a perpetual optimist, would do anything to keep his daughter safe. This tale really showed how the blame game turns into an excuse to either shuck responsibility for past bad deeds or to commit more bad deeds. 5/5

First, Just Bite a Finger by Johann Thorsson

This bit of flash fiction dealt with a different kind of addiction, but I feel the spirit of it (exploring a new-to-you high) could be applied to any new addiction. Julia, 39, went to a party, buzz wearing off, so she’s looking to try something new. This guy Toussaint bites off the tip of his pinky finger. Julia thinks it’s a trick. However, as the week goes on Julia notices bits missing from her friends. This little horror flick ended a bit too soon for me. I felt there was more for Julia to tell us. 4/5

Last Call by John FD Taff

Ted is in AA but he keeps falling off the wagon, going from group to group. His sponsor Sam reluctantly sends him to a liquor store with a special card, telling him to ask for the last bottle he will ever need. The store owner gives him a little lecture about choosing life or death. The unlabeled bottle is referred to as a shortcut, which I thought was a great way to show later on that there is no shortcut when it comes to dealing with addiction. The story leaps forward 5 years here, 10 years there, etc., showing how Ted’s life has changed and yet how this shortcut bottle is still tucked away, hiding in his closet. The ending is left dangling and I would have liked a line or two to close it out. It would have made the story more poignant or hopeful depending on how things ended. 4/5

Torment of the Fallen by Glen Krisch

Maggie is headed from Phoenix to Aurora, IL to hunt down her long-lost father, Desmond Gabriel. She can see demons and her online paranormal activities, where she goes by Jenny Halloween, have finally given her a hint as to where her father is. Her father, a homeless man, was mentioned on a paranormal chat site, Torment of the Fallen. She meets a short man that goes by Cheddar near the supposedly haunted house where her father sometimes crashes. I enjoyed this story because it had that urban fantasy feel to it where demons were being investigated and a lost person would be found, hopefully. If this story wasn’t in an anthology that focused on addiction, I wouldn’t necessarily have picked up on those elements of the story. I hope we see more of Jenny Halloween in the future. 5/5

Everywhere You’ve Bled and Everywhere You Will by Max Booth III

Jeremy, 26, is bleeding from his urethra. Perhaps the hepatitis is getting to him though he asks his lover Eliza if she bit him. He hasn’t told her about his hepatitis yet. At work, it gets worse so he goes to a clinic where he runs into Nick, a former junkie friend. He has one confrontation after another and things get worse and worse for him. Let me just whisper it to you – spiders. Yep. This was easily the most creeptastic and scary story of the anthology! I don’t even have a penis or hepatitis and it made me shudder. 5/5

Returns by Jack Ketchum

In this short tale, Jill Hunt’s husband’s spirit returns from the dead. She’s been drinking since he was run over by a cab. He thinks he’s returned to help Jill get past his death and not succumb to alcoholism. She can see and hear him but she thinks it’s all in her head. This little story was rather sad as it involved a pet and this failed relationship. I felt that things were left a bit unresolved as I wanted to know what ultimately happened to Jill or her husband’s spirit. 4/5

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Rick Gregory did a pretty good job with this anthology. There was a lot of ground to cover, that’s for sure! His female voices were pretty good. Melinda and Terra sounded like women. For the most part, he had distinct characters though in the story Garden of Fiends he occasionally sounded a bit mechanical and the characters weren’t distinct (I had to follow closely the dialogue between Brett and Terra to keep straight who said what). In the entire book, I only caught a single mispronounced word – conflagration. It just happens to be one of my favorite words and that’s why the butchering of it stood out. The pacing and volume were all well done. Over all, a well-done narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • Niagara Falls, NY
  • 06-22-17

Addiction Is Utterly Terrifying

4.5 out of 5 stars

Each story really held it's own in this book and really made for some terrifying (and sometimes almost too real) depictions of what addiction is like.  I've had friends who have died from overdoses due to addiction and it's not easy to watch.  I cannot imagine living it (but I can a little better after reading this).

I wasn't 100% sure what I was getting into when I first picked this book up.  I thought it was just another horror anthology, but I was dead wrong.  This is a collection of stories about addiction told as if they were a horror story (which they basically are).  You are no longer in control of your body -- the addiction is.

I will tell you this about Garden of Fiends -- it wasn't easy to finish in one sitting.  Not because the stories weren't good, but because they were too good.  They were so brutal and brutally honest that I found myself having to stop after each one to digest exactly what happened and how I felt about it.

Adding to a well-done collection of stories was the narration by Rick Gregory.  This is the first audiobook by him I've listened to and I loved it.  You can tell that Gregory has worked around, with, and through narrators for a long time because he really understands the nuances of what telling a great story are.

Overall, an enjoyable collection of short stories that easily could have been standalone stories.  I'm glad that Matthews put them all together though because I got to read them all in one spot.  After finishing this I went and hugged those who are close to me.

I was given a free copy of this audiobook, this has not affected my review in any way.

If you like this review, please vote for it. Every vote really does help! If you'd like to see more reviews like this please check out BriansBookBlog DOT com.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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total cool, and creepy!

I have not heard a book like this one before. When it first starts, the prolog, it sounds more like this is going to be a fact book on junkies. but when the first story starts, the first story will drag in right in. and you will soon see this book is like no other, Its some short stories. that have to do with drugs, and the paranormal. and are very well written all go nicely together.
If your looking for something different, and like these 2 subjects, This is a total must buy!
The narrator did an excellent job.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A (sometimes paranormal) look through their eyes.

#Audible

This was engaging, suspenseful...and far too true to life. The stories are quite well written, and provide a look through the eyes of an addict. The horror, fear, and pull of the substances is a very real thing, and I think these authors did a great job of showing the reality.

The narrator wasn't bad.

Bob says: 4 Platypires

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Horrible narrator stories were ok

The narrator read in the same boring tone the whole time and put emphasis on the wrong words, definitely wouldn’t listen to another book narrated by him. Some of the stories were pretty good while a few were just ok and seemed to go on and on, or ended abruptly. It was ok, but not something I would listen to again.

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garden of fiends



** I received this audio book in exchange for a honest review**

first of all, the production of this audio book was perfect. I have no complaints on that part. The author, Mark Matthew narrates. I know a guy that says authors shouldn't do that. I do agree with him on this one. Mark spoke clear and just fine but there was just something missing. I couldn't get into the stories. Maybe because I've never been a addict? I don't know but I couldn't connect with them. None of the stories were bad but my favorite was A WICKED THIRST, by Kealan Patrick Burke. I would say if this sounds the tiniest bit interesting to you, you should go for it but maybe read it instead of listening.